Some people live in the same place their entire lives, never leaving the comforts of their hometown. However, there are times when we have no choice but to move, mostly for work reasons or family reasons.
When that time comes, choosing where you want to live is an important decision that you're going to have to make... but not before considering a number of important factors. Whatever might be the reason for moving -- a new job, retirement, better schools, or just for a fresh start -- there are a lot of variables that come into play before you decide where to move. From climate to low crime rates, the reasons for moving are far and varied.
1. Affordability and living standards
Affordability is a broader term that encompasses the cost of housing expenses, consumable goods, utility services and other such miscellaneous expenses that go along with your everyday living situation. These determine how you live comfortably within the available resources, which often are termed as living standards. Living standards vary from city to city, and you can calculate it by using our city comparison tool. Some places are going to have a higher cost of living than others, depending mostly on their location and proximity to major cities.
For example, the cost of living in a major metropolitan area like New York City is going to be significantly higher than the cost of living in a small town in Nebraska or Western Pennsylvania. The cost of living and living standards of a particular area will play a major role in where you ultimately choose to live, and your budget will often dictate whether you can afford to live in an area with a higher cost of living.
2. Climate and weather
The climate dictates a large part of our life by influencing our behavior patterns, hobbies, and to an extent, the job which we would be doing. You need to decide whether you like hot weather, cold weather or a moderate spring-like climate. A lot of people don't think that the weather would come into play in a decision as important as choosing where to live, but it does more often than not.
If you are someone from the northeast who is tired of cold weather and snow and wishes for a more laid back lifestyle in a year-round warm weather climate, you might consider moving down south or to a place like California or Arizona. Also, you should take into consideration the area's propensity for large storms and weather-related natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
3. Infrastructural facilities
These broadly consist of healthcare, education and commuting facilities.
- Access to healthcare is directly proportional to the quality of life
- If you have children, then good schools might be the deciding factor in choosing a town over a city
- Local traffic and the availability of public transportation systems determines the amount of time that you will spend commuting each day
All of these things are very important factors in where you will decide to live and your options must be weighed carefully. It is especially important if you are relocating with your entire family.
For example, if your job requires you to frequently commute, you may want to choose a place that is within a short distance to public transportation access. If your children are in school, you might want to move to an area that has a well-funded school district and a neighborhood that is safe and close to the school they will be attending.
4. Crime statistics
A crime-free state is a utopian misnomer. The safety of a neighborhood is determined by the availability of a well-staffed police force and proper law enforcement standards.
You can get up-to-date crime statistics of different cities on our city crime report page. If you want detailed information, then you can contact the local police department for further details. You can also find out the role that the community plays in policing its town and learn about the prevention of crimes from local law enforcement departments.
5. Culture and lifestyle
Your lifestyle is dictated by the culture of a region, and it varies from one place to another. Listing various passions and activities that you want to do but can't at your present location is a good way to help you decide where you should move.
Your interests and desires should be a major factor in where you ultimately decide to live:
- If you are more into the outdoors, then a place by the ocean or in the mountains should be preferred.
- If you are artistically inclined and crave the theatrical, then you should be relocating to major metro areas.
An outdoorsy nature-lover who hunts and fishes shouldn't move to a major city that's landlocked and hundreds of miles from the nearest state park or forest. A person who craves diversity and loves the options of many different restaurants and sources of entertainment wouldn't move to a town in the middle of nowhere with one pizza place and one movie theater.
6. Job market
It is ideal to find a job before you relocate. Employment opportunities vary from region to region, so you should spend some time researching opportunities within your chosen industry. It is better to find out beforehand which region offers a higher number of such jobs. The key is to strike a balance between a job that pays you well and the standard of living of a particular region.
If for some reason you are forced to move before you're able to nail down a steady job, you should relocate to a place where you will be able to find one. For example, think about your profession and consider areas where your there is a higher concentration of companies that specialize in your field. This will help you to locate a job more quickly once you have arrived.
7. Proximity to family
Everyone has a different relationship with their family. Some people want to move away from family -- as far as possible -- while others want to live down the street from their parents. This tip is unique to your circumstances and your relationship with your family.
If you are expecting a baby or already have a child, living close to your family will benefit you greatly by having a helping-hand around. When things in your life are getting hectic, it's nice to have a helpful family around to relieve some of the burden. Something as simple as your mom coming over to watch your child (or children) for an hour or two, so you can take a much-needed nap can help make your week much less stressful. You don't want to pass all of your responsiblities to your relatives, but it's common to ask for assistance every now and then.